Coronary Artery Calcium Score: the “Mammogram” of the Heart?

Miguel Cainzos-Achirica, Philip A. Di Carlo, Catherine E. Handy, Renato Quispe, Gerard Roura, Xavier Pinto, Roger S. Blumenthal, Josep Comin-Colet, Xavier Corbella, Michael J. Blaha

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: To discuss the classic analogy of “coronary artery calcium (CAC) as a mammogram of the heart”, by evaluating the conceptual strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a potential cardiovascular disease (CVD) screening strategy using CAC in apparently healthy adults. Recent Findings: CAC is typically used for further CVD risk assessment. CAC is also currently being used as a screening test in specific subgroups of individuals, particularly in some Asian countries. Although this has yielded valuable insights on the determinants and pathophysiology of CVD, whether this approach results in improved clinical outcomes compared to other assessment and management approaches is currently unclear. Summary: Although CAC and mammograms share a number of characteristics, there are also important conceptual differences. The evidence supporting CAC, which is a robust CVD risk assessment tool, for CVD screening purposes is currently very limited, and further research is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number70
JournalCurrent Cardiology Reports
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Coronary artery calcium
  • Mammogram
  • Risk assessment
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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